Emotions And Health

As I've said more than once, Chinese medicine is about balance in all areas of life. This includes the emotions as well. We all know that allowing ourselves to stay angry or stressed for a long period of time is detrimental to our health-eventually we will develop physical symptoms if we don't take care of ourselves. In the world of Chinese medicine, all emotions-good and bad- can be considered bad for your health if experienced in excess. Over the past few days I've been talking about the basics of Five Phase theory. This theory corresponds to the emotions as well. Each organ system/phase has its own emotion that is related to it. Therefore, people of that particular constitution tend to be drawn to the linked emotion.

The emotion linked to Wood/Liver constitutions is anger. Anger makes the qi of the body circulate unevenly, creating an overall tension within the body. This, in turn, often leads to migraines, hemorrhoids, and ulcers.

Fire/Heart constitutions are linked to the emotion of joy. This may seem like a positive emotion, but in excess, it scatters the qi. Extreme highs lead to extreme lows; excess joy can lead to a state of anxiety, insomnia, hypoglycemia, anorexia, or (in extreme cases) schizophrenia.

Rumination is the emotion linked with the Earth/Spleen constitution. This tendency to overthink can lead to obsessive thought and worries. In turn, the qi becomes stagnant, which can create a physical stagnation as well, in the form of poor digestion, flabby muscles, and weight gain.

Sorrow is the emotion of Metal/Lung. Sorrow depletes the qi of the body, which can manifest as asthma or constipation. It can also lead to general weakness and a tendency to get sick easily.

The Water/Kidney element is connected with the emotion of fear. Fear causes the qi of the body to descend. If the body is subject to fear for a long enough time, it will begin to harden against this emotion as a defense mechanism. This hardening of the spirit can then manifest physically into arthritis, deafness, and senility.

Interesting stuff, isn't it? Granted, this is only a brief overview of how it works, but it's amazing how closely the physical and emotional components of the individual are intertwined.